Dear Editor,

I would like to take a brief moment to respond to the Letter to Editor written in this week’s paper by Cris Gutierrez.

Like Ms. Gutierrez I too am a Latina. Unlike Ms. Gutierrez I am an immigrant and have lived in Santa Monica since coming to the United States from Mexico in the mid 1970’s. My husband and I have been Santa Monica residents for over 40 years.

It is heart-breaking that a person who is not a resident of the Pico Neighborhood and whose family has not been adversely impacted as a Latina Pico Neighborhood resident would make statements in opposition to my civil rights and the civil rights of other Latinos in the Pico Neighborhood.

In Pico Neighborhood, we have suffered disproportionately from other neighborhoods in terms of drugs, gangs, violence, and murder of our youth. However according to Ms. Gutierrez’ point of view, she takes “very seriously” the “public, common good” and calls the Pico neighborhood’s civil rights lawsuit “misguided” and “dangerous”.

I fully support the civil rights efforts of fellow-Pico Neighborhood residents to implement District Elections in the City of Santa Monica.

I don’t feel that the current City Council represents me or my family. I want to be able to elect a representative from my community that knows, understands, has lived, and can represent Pico Neighborhood issues in our City government. We don’t have such representation with the current City Council and our current election system.

As the mother of two daughters who went through Santa Monica schools and the grandmother of several grandchildren who are currently in Santa Monica schools, I want my children and grandchildren to know that if they run for City council they have a chance to win. However, with the current system they have no chance to win the election.


Rebecca Villegas,

Pico Neighborhood resident


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  1. Ms. Villegas has a heart-felt opinion. We just disagree.

    Notwithstanding historical hardships experienced by the Pico Neighborhood, the City Council has also been very supportive of the Pico Neighborhood and its needs over the years, as have so many of Santa Monica’s residents, like me. That’s why many wonderful amenities and services in the neighborhood have been added, such as Virginia Park, the Pico Branch library, and Ishihara Park with its Learning Garden.

    I do not presume to speak for how Ms. Villegas may feel about the City’s decisions. I just know that social justice and peace concerns, like environmental ones, are not exclusive to one neighborhood in Santa Monica. In our small city, we really do experience things much more similarly than some would suppose.

    The lawsuit to split the city on the basis of one sector’s “voters rights” does not affirm any of our “equal protections.” An appeal is essential.

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